10 Tips for a Magical Walt Disney World Summer Vacation

It's that time of year again when you're planning your summer vacation to the Walt Disney World Resort along with thousands of other families. There are a few things we can guarantee for a summer vacation at Disney: heat, humidity, crowds, and cranky people. While there's no escaping the crowds or the heat, summer is still a great time to visit.

How to make summer at Disney the best vacation everHow to make summer at Disney the best vacation ever

Even those of us who self-proclaimed "pros" when it comes to planning a Disney World vacation need some tips and tricks to get us through the summer months. So with that in mind here are a few of our favorite summer vacation survival tips.

10. Stay hydrated: This is so important, especially in the unrelenting Florida heat and humidity. We recommend bringing refillable water bottles from home or getting free cups of water from any of the quick service spot in the parks. Don't waste your money (or Disney Dining Plan snack credits) on bottles of water.

9. Make FastPass+ Reservations at 60 day mark: Gone are the days of running to Toy Story Midway Mania for a FastPass. Now we all need to make our FastPass+ selections 60 days before arriving at the parks. Sure it makes things less spontaneous but it also means you'll have a better chance of getting on the popular attractions. Save your FastPass+ selections for attractions and don't waste them on character meet-and-greets.

8. Speaking of character meet-and-greets: If you're looking for air conditioning (or a respite from the rain that is likely to happen every afternoon) stop by the Animation Building at Disney's Hollywood Studios. You'll find Sorcerer Mickey, Baymax and Hiro, and sometimes even Princess Sofia. It's a good place to rest the feet and get cooled off.

Meet Mickey at Disney's Hollywood StudiosMeet Mickey at Disney's Hollywood Studios

7. Yes, it's going to rain:
Rain and summer in Florida go together like peanut butter and jelly. You just can't have one without the other. So it's best to be prepared for an afternoon rainstorm or thunderstorm and just pack those ponchos in your park bag. The best way to save some money on ponchos is to buy some at home rather than spending almost $10 on a Disney Parks poncho. Also, bring a couple large zip-top bags to store the ponchos in after it rains.

6. Advance Dining Reservations: OK, the 180 day mark is long-gone for summer trips, but if you weren't able to get that one must-have ADR back then we suggest still trying. Plans change and there is still a slim chance that you might be able to get into that long shot of a restaurant. And if you're just now planning your trip, don't fret! There are still good ADRs to be found, you might just need to think outside the box (and outside the "normal" dining times).

5. Special events: This summer is full of special events including Star Wars Weekends and Frozen Summer Fun LIVE! at Disney's Hollywood Studios, and the Sounds Like Summer concerts at Epcot. There are special packages available for both Star Wars Weekends and Frozen Summer Fun LIVE! and they might sell out so make your plans now. The concert series at Epcot is free for Epcot guests and starts in June.

Frozen Summer Fun LIVE!  at the StudiosFrozen Summer Fun LIVE! at the Studios

4. Plan quick service meals: This might sound crazy but we always like to have some sort of game plan for quick service meals too. Certain locations (think: Cosmic Rays at the Magic Kingdom) are a nightmare at "traditional" lunch and dinner times. So, think about eating at "off" times " a later lunch or dinner. Last summer we made the mistake of hitting Cosmic Rays at noon and it was not magical at all. But a later dinner at Pecos Bills (another busy spot) on a different night was relaxing and pleasant.

3. Wear comfortable shoes (and bring an extra pair): While no one wants to carry a heavy bag around the parks it's always a good idea to pack a pair of flip flops as an extra pair of shoes. If they kids decide to splash around at Epcot in the splash zones it won't be any fun to squish around in wet shoes for the whole day. And sometimes after a day of walking in sneakers your toes need a rest and it'll be flip flops to the rescue. (Don't forget the bandages and moleskin for feet emergencies).

2. Save money on glow toys: We've all been there. Standing on the at the Magic Kingdom waiting for the parade to start when those glow-in-the-dark toy carts appear out of nowhere and the kids want one of everything. This will break the bank so we say no. Instead of spending $25 on some whirly glow toy it's much more economical to buy a bunch of glow-in-the-dark necklaces, wands, and bracelets at the dollar store and bring them with you to the parks.

Fireworks = glow in the dark toys!Fireworks = glow in the dark toys!

1. Be patient: While this is becoming a great piece of advice at any time of year at Disney World, it's especially true in the hot and humid summer months when tempers tend to be shorter and lines are longer. Everyone wants to have a magical trip but things happen: it's hot, the kids and grownups are cranky, the FastPass+ kiosk line is out of control, and it's raining and you're walking around in 100 percent humidity on a 98 degree day in a plastic poncho. Not fun. This is the point when we need to stop, breathe deeply, and find some air conditioning.

Summer at the Walt Disney World Resort is survivable. It's a good idea to have a plan, take breaks, plan afternoon swims at the hotel, and make some magical memories.

What's your favorite way to survive the summer vacation at Disney World? Let us know in the comments.

Kristen K. wrote on Mon, 05/04/2015 - 16:50:

Kristen K.'s picture

Great tips Traci!

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